More than 3.4 million American children and adults have epilepsy, a number that is increasing and higher than ever before, according to findings recently published in Morbidity and Mortality Report.
“Epilepsy has been assessed only intermittently in population surveys,” Matthew M. Zack, MD, and Rosemarie Kobau, MPH, of the division of population health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC wrote. “Groups interested in reducing epilepsy prevalence need updated estimates of the numbers of persons living with epilepsy nationally and within their states.”
To determine national and state-specific estimates of active epilepsy in the United States, Zack and Kobau reviewed answers from 2015 National Health Interview Survey and 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health.
Among the findings:
•the number of persons estimated to have active epilepsy was less than 14,000 in nine states and Washington, D.C.;
•the number of persons estimated to have active epilepsy was between 14,000 and 32,799 in 11 states;
•the number of persons estimated to have active epilepsy was between 32,800 and 56,799 in nine states;
•the number of persons estimated to have active epilepsy was between 56,800 and 92,699 in 10 states;
•the number of persons estimated to have active epilepsy was 92,700 persons or more in 11 states;
•the most estimated cases of epilepsy were in California, with 427,700 (59,800 in children); and
•the least estimated cases of epilepsy were in Wyoming, with 5,900 (800 in children).
Researchers noted that a state’s ranking for cases of epilepsy ran roughly parallel to its ranking in total overall population. They attributed the increases of epilepsy cases to population growth and possibly a person more willing to reveal he or she has the condition.
“Public health practitioners, health care providers, policy makers, epilepsy researchers and other epilepsy stakeholders, including family members and people with epilepsy, can use these findings to ensure that evidence-based programs meet the complex needs of adults and children with epilepsy and reduce the disparities resulting from it,” Zack and Kobau wrote. – by Janel Miller
The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.